Let’s talk a little about this project as I work on it. That works for getting me to do things like short stories, and to push myself onwards. I think the genre of game that senp.AI can be considered is a otome game, one where the player assumes the role of a protaganist in a romantic narrative focused on a single, desireable member of the preferred gender. There are lots of games like these; some of my readers may be more familiar with eroge variants, where you usually play a clueless, feckless, ambiguously appealing generic grey lump somehow seducing his way through a cloud of gorgeous women, or choosing a particular lady to really get it on with. While I am all for the knocking of boots and stuff, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do that. If nothing else, there’s a lot of hard assets to create, and writing erotica has reminded me that there is absolutely nobody as thankless as an audience you actually know.
Rather, senp.AI is meant to be a cutesey love story (no, actually) about playing a (girl||boy||other) at a fancy futuristic high school in Harbour City’s District 13,, who develops a crush on a (girl||boy||neither) in your class. It is your class: You’re the AI designed by the school to keep an eye on the students’ online behaviour, to check for problems and ensure that nobody is showing signs of social problems. You’re the cute AI sidekick of the class’ Guidance Counsellor as they go through the 2898 school year, which will feature studies like 21st Century History, Pre-Cataclysm Literature, and Ethics.
The challenges I’m facing as a writer/creator for this project – ignoring that the engine I’m using is designed for idiots and I’m still struggling with it – come in this general form:
- Can I write a character that a reader realistically will fall for?
- Is it wrong to assume a player will meet the game half-way?
- What kind of homework can I assign the player?
- How the hell did Christine Love get the interface for Hate Plus to behave?